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Mid ‘30’s Rolex ref 3660

  1. warrydog Jan 21, 2019

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    This was my fathers watch he acquired in a trade while serving in WWII. He didn't remember any details, and when the balance staff broke, stuck it in his dresser drawer and forgot about it. Many years later, he gave it to me. I sent it to a local watchmaker who repaired it, serviced it, installed new crystal, and replaced the disintegrated hands. I gave it back to Dad and he wore it until he passed, at which time I received it and it’s been with me for the past 15 years. From time to time, I’ve googled Rolex 3660, but rarely ever find anything. Does anyone have any info on this snap back cased watch? By the serial number, it appears to have been made anywhere from 1934-39. That’s about all I know. My watchmaker tells me the dial is original. Thanks for any info 63BAA8FF-1F32-42C6-AE80-508DB86C9F62.jpeg 60CE8EED-3C04-497B-87BB-9935B951B149.jpeg 462B2DC9-D10B-46D5-9627-8CACCFDC5CD8.jpeg DA4EB6B0-29C8-4A67-B7D6-528AD52DD02A.jpeg B6E4D116-FA4B-4FB0-8D28-2BA081366D9B.jpeg DBA240B5-C48B-4A03-989C-FABC2E356831.jpeg 56666F48-0219-4DA1-8B91-A3871183DCD2.jpeg 0F4E1056-4F84-4849-8974-CFEDCD1DE629.jpeg
     
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  2. warrydog Jan 21, 2019

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    Is the "ROW" an indicator that it was for the American market?
    Thanks, Tom
     
  3. gatorcpa ΩF InvestiGator Staff Member Jan 21, 2019

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    Yes.
    gatorcpa
     
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  4. Adam2941 Jan 30, 2019

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    That is a very unusual non-oyster, early Rolex! I have seen variations of that dial, with the small, chunky Roman numerals, in Speedkings and bubblebacks. It seems that the watchmaker did not polish case, which is very nice. Did the watchmaker by any chance give you back the original hands after he replaced them? I am sorry to say that the loss of the original hands significantly hurts the vintage value of the watch. I cannot imagine that they were so bad that they could not have been retained--I mean, unless they were literally crumbling from rust, which I have never seen happen. I suppose you could find similar vintage replacements, if you remember what they looked like. Strange that he would respect the originality of the dial and case enough not to alter them, but he replaced the hands. Did he replace the crown as well?
     
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  5. warrydog Feb 9, 2019

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    I only suspect he replaced the crown too as it looks pretty nice.. there is no logo on it, but perhaps they didn't do that back then on this model.
    Unfortunately, I received no original parts (at that time I didn't know any better), but was assured that they weren't usable.. my only recollection of the hands is they may have been blued dauphine but i cant remember as the crystal was almost solid amber... I remember only barely making out the name Rolex.
    On a somewhat related note, I recently had an old Waltham pocket watch rebuilt for a friend. The watchmaker informed me the plastic crystal had off-gassed over the years and destroyed the hands with rust.. Does that sound possible? Plausible? Perhaps that's what happened to the old Rolex?
    Thanks very much for your input
     
  6. gatorcpa ΩF InvestiGator Staff Member Feb 10, 2019

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    Manufacturers tried all sorts of plastic compounds for watch crystals prior to WWII. Some were very unstable, gave off noxious fumes as they aged and could be flammable.

    So yes, that was possible.
    gatorcpa
     
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  7. Vitezi Feb 10, 2019

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  8. hungdangnguyen23 Feb 12, 2019

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    damn this is a really cool Rolex
     
  9. Rasputin The Mad Monk of OF Feb 12, 2019

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    @warrydog - Does the exterior portion of the caseback have a number and/or Rolex crown engraved into it?
     
  10. warrydog Feb 13, 2019

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    Nope, the exterior caseback is just a plain jane.. No engravings or markings of any kind I can see.
    If I have a chance today, I'll re-shoot the caseback and side shots so they're more in focus.
    Thanks very much,
    Tom
     
  11. Capron Oct 24, 2020

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    Hi Tom,
    Nice watch, I have the same réf with another dial and fixed lugs.
    Mine is from 1937
    inbound1245419170557670244.jpg
     
  12. nkhandekar Oct 26, 2020

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    If the crystal was cellulose acetate, it is very possible as it breaks down and produces acetic acid, which will cause corrosion. Do you remember a vinegary smell from the watch? This is one of many possible scenarios.
     
  13. warrydog Mar 29, 2021

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    Thanks!! I like the dial on your watch too. After seeing the hands on your watch, I'm wondering if I misunderstood that mine were replaced.